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Old 04-13-2005, 03:22 PM   #1
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Ich: The salt and heat treatment

I have battled ich only one time since keeping fish. I noticed an outbreak in the 29 gal tank this morning. I plan to use the Salt and heat treatment instead of a commercial product. Will this harm the fish that we currently have in the tank? At this time we have 4 baby parrots, 1 rubbermouth pleco, 2 African Butterfly fish, and 4 spiny eels. I know, sounds like a lot of fish, but they are all pretty small. It is a temporary setup until the 55 is up and going. Plus, two of the eels are ALWAYS burrowed in the sand.

A side question: What will cause an ich outbreak? We haven't added fish into the tank in the past 4 months. Nothing new has been added in regards to decor. We did a water change on Sunday, but that's it.
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Old 04-13-2005, 03:29 PM   #2
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What are your water parameters? Some people say that ich is present at all times in every aquarium, and if your water is off, that could be how it takes hold (just a theory I read about).
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Old 04-13-2005, 03:49 PM   #3
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I don't know the exact pH off hand, but I know that the Ammonia and Nitrite's are 0 and the Nitrate was something like 10 or 20. It wasn't high.
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Old 04-13-2005, 03:53 PM   #4
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Is your pH stable? Perhaps a pH swing stressed the fish and made them vulnerable. I'm not quite sure, but with params like that, I can't imagine how ich came on if nothing in the tank has changed for months.
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Old 04-13-2005, 03:56 PM   #5
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The pH is stable. I just don't remember the exact value off hand. I am at work right now.

My main question is if the salt and heat treatment will harm the fish that I currently have stocked.
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Old 04-13-2005, 04:01 PM   #6
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I'm not sure about the eels, but I know some plecos are salt-sensative. Maybe just do 1 tablespoon per 10 gallons instead of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons.

Just raise the temp gradually, and I don't think any of your fish will have a problem with it. Do something to aerate the water, too. Warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen.
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Old 04-13-2005, 04:09 PM   #7
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We already have 1 air stone in the tank but I am going to lower the water level a couple inches so the surface is aggitated with the flowing from the filter. We are getting a new air stone in tomorrow from Big Al's and I plan to put that in there also. It has a sand substrate and it is very hard to find those air stones that have the weight on the bottom that sticks in the sand.
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Old 04-13-2005, 04:24 PM   #8
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what causes ich...

i have yet to figure that out... some fish are just more prone to it.. bad health / nutrition / whatever... ime, i've had all of my catfish catch it (my two silvertipped sharks (columbian catfish) and both of my pictus) I guess its because they stay together, but each time they've caught it, water parameters have been perfect.

as for salt, I have had success with a pleco in the tank while treating the ich victims with salt and a higher temp, albeit, he was still small at the time, which I guess is even more amazing
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Old 04-13-2005, 04:35 PM   #9
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The parrots are the only ones with it. The eels could have it for all I know. They burrow most of the time but tonight I'm going to dig them up (pushing finger in sand and moving it around the tank). I want to make sure none are dead and see if any of them have ich. I am mostly concerned about the African Butterfly fish.
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:05 AM   #10
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The fish are all doing great. Water temp is at 87.7 and the salt is added to the tank. How often should I do water changes? I assume that I add salt into the tank with each water change?
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:35 AM   #11
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FishyFanatic,

During the course of treatment I do 25-30% water change and gravel vac every other day and then replace the salt that was taken out during the changes. Vaccuming the gravel after the cysts fall off the fish will help to remove some of them from the tank before the parasites can burst free from the cysts.

Keep the treatment up for at least 14 days. If you are catching the Ich during the middle of it's life cycle then you might want to consider treating for 21 days to ensure that it has been killed.

Quote:
FishyFanatic"]A side question: What will cause an ich outbreak?
There are any number of things that can cause an outbreak of Ich:

- Poor water conditions (ie: nitrates over 20ppm)
- Poor water change frequency
- A tank tank that is cycling
- Fish that are in poor health for some reason
- Newly imported fish or fish that are new from the store
- Temperature flucuations

HTH,
Bryan
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:47 AM   #12
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I would do a water change every day -- it helps remove the free-swimming ich. A gravel vac will help remove the cysts that fall, but I wouldn't vac as much as you would for a regular water change. Only add salt back in for what you took out. If you change 5 gallons of water, then add salt for those 5 gallons only. Are you using one tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons? Then one tablespoon added to your replacement water is all you need. If you're using one tablespoon of salt per 10 gallons then adjust accordingly.

Did you recently get live plants for this tank? I wonder if ich can be transmitted through plants. It's probably unlikely since a plant really isn't a host.
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:48 AM   #13
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That's what is so weird. The water is perfect and we havne't added anything to the tank in at least 4 months. In fact, I think the last addition was in November. It is completly cycled. The ich outbreak occured right after the last water change. It was something like 2 days after doing the water change that it appeared.
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Old 04-17-2005, 01:52 AM   #14
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No live plants in this tank. I am going to plant the 5 gal, just haven't been able to find any that I want at the lfs. I went a couple days ago but they were all listed as "Asst Plants".

I wasn't the one that added the salt, James was. I told him to do what the box said (this was before the previous post that said to do 1 tablespoon per 10 gal) and he put in 1 tablespoon per 5 gal. I just did a water change and added back in about 10 gal so I added 1 1/2 tablespoons. It is weird because yesterday I didn't see a drop of ich on them. Then today, it is back on them again.
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Old 04-17-2005, 02:07 AM   #15
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I agree, it is wierd. I had a really bad outbreak in a tank a few years ago that occured the same night after I did a water change. The water parameters were perfect and the temp was matched when I added the replacement water. The only thing different that I did was to add some new live plants. Whether or not Ich can hitchike into a tank on live plants I don't know, but it got me thinking that it could after that incident.

The daily water changes that An t-iasg suggested would be better than doing them every other day.

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Old 04-17-2005, 02:29 AM   #16
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What about a temperature flucuation to cause the ich? Did the tank get sun that day, get caught in a room with an open window left open all night? Anything like that?

Good Luck.
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Old 04-17-2005, 10:28 AM   #17
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If it was a sudden water temp change, wouldn't the rest of my tanks have caught it too? They are all in the same room. That I can tell, nothing was changed in the tank. I guess it will always be a mystery. Only the parrots have it right now. I think that's odd. I didn't QT them because I have been told that if 1 fish has ich, they will all have it and there's no point in doing a QT. Is that right?
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Old 04-17-2005, 02:54 PM   #18
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Yes, that's right. You shouldn't QT the parrots because the ich is in the whole tank. It could be possible that some of the other fish in this tank don't show spots, but the ich is there -- in the gravel, in the water, on the fish -- so by using heat and salt you're treating the whole tank also. If you would QT the parrots, then it's possible that the fish left in that tank could show the ich in a week or so. I think you're doing the right thing now by using the heat-salt treatment for the whole tank.
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Old 04-17-2005, 03:11 PM   #19
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I just tested the water and my results are:

Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 5
pH = 7.4
Temp = 87.7
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Old 04-17-2005, 09:15 PM   #20
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All the parameters look good, and the temperature is right where it should be. How is the pleco doing with the salt? Keep us posted!
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